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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
We are an open and affirming, multi-racial and multi-cultural, assessable to all, peace and justice oriented body of faith. We go into the community and God's disciples. Grounded by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we uplift Christ's goodness, create spiritual community, and care for God's people and God's world. Dynamic hope, incredible compassion, extravagant hospitality, and radical love are our core values.
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The LGBT Community, Animated
Not so long ago, it was a big deal to see members of the LGBT community on television, but even when a gay or lesbian character appeared, there was always a good chance the show would make them the butt of a joke, or worse, an exaggerated stereotype. On sitcoms and dramas aimed at adults, the situation has improved over the last two decades, with fully-developed, dynamic LGBT characters appearing on shows like Modern Family, Transparent, and Six Feet Under.
Until recently, representation of the LGBT community has been lacking on television aimed at families and kids, but some animated shows are taking important steps by prominently featuring LGBT characters, breaking away from gender norms, and supporting visibility for the LGBT community. Since so many studies and experts have cited the importance of visibility when it comes to kids understanding and accepting the LGBT community, kids’ shows tackling LGBT themes are doing important work when it comes to helping LGBT kids and families relate to themselves and the wider community.
The Many Moms of “Steven Universe”
Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe has been widely praised for its LGBT themes. The show’s basic premise is about a boy being raised by three moms (who are crystal Gems, but that’s beside the point), and the plot regularly explores how the women relate to one another and how their relationships have developed. In one episode, one of the Gems is revealed to be two Gems, who fuse together and sing a song about their relationship and how they are stronger together. It’s a big, queer-affirming moment on a show that is packed with others:
- Gender: In an episode where Steven finds out that two of his moms can fuse together into a giant Gem, he sings a song about how if he had the choice, he’d be a Giant Woman.
- Androgynous: Another episode features Steven fusing with a female character to create an androgynous character, who the creators of the show intentionally don’t refer to using male or female pronouns.
- Relationship: Within the show’s narrative, Steven’s mother Rose Quartz gives up her physical form in order for Steven to be born, and an entire episode is dedicated to another of the Gems telling Steven how proud she is of the relationship they had.
By including positive portrayals of the LGBT community through the lens of science fiction and fantasy, Steven Universe is able to play against expected gender norms and roles, and feature interesting relationships between its characters that a show grounded in reality might not be able to pull off without courting controversy.
The LGBT Community’s Vampire Queen
Another of Cartoon Network’s most popular shows, Adventure Time, also features prominent female characters whose relationship develops over the course of the series. Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen are both introduced very early in the series, but in the episode “What Was Missing,” Marceline sings a heartbreaking song about how she’s an inconvenience to Princess Bubblegum, and viewers immediately picked up on the lesbian subtext. Since then, the show (and its tie-in comics) have confirmed what viewers thought:
- Teaser: A tie-in comic, video, and art posted by one of the writers furthered fan speculation that the characters had been romantically involved, although the video was taken down and several writers wondered if the content wasn’t considered appropriate for a kids’ show.
- Emotion: However, in a later episode, Princess Bubblegum trades an old shirt that Marceline gave to her to a witch so that Marceline can get stolen childhood memento back. The witch talks about the shirt’s “sentimental freshness,” and earlier in the episode, it’s suggested that the character’s relationship isn’t just platonic.
- Outed: Finally, the voice actress who plays Marceline confirmed that the characters once dated, according to a conversation she had with the show’s creator, seemingly making the show’s subtext canon.
What’s refreshing about the relationship between these characters on Adventure Time is its complexity: these characters have a history, they fight sometimes, they make up, and ultimately they care about each other deeply, and representing that kind of real relationship is something the LGBT community can get behind.
Wider Representation of the LGBT Community
While female relationships are becoming more prominently featured on animated shows, we’ve yet to see greater visibility for gay men and trans people, but we can certainly hope that these shows and trailblazers like Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra and Cartoon Network’s Clarence lead the way to more visibility for the LGBT community on family shows.
By prominently featuring LGBT characters on these shows, kids who are coming into their self-identities can see positive portrayals of people who are like them, while LGBT parents can use the shows’ themes and characters as jumping-off points for conversations with their kids about their families. For the LGBT community, finding affirming representations–even if they’re animated–can be a huge step toward acceptance and understanding.